I think we can all agree that stress sucks. It can lead to tense muscles, lack of sleep, and has been linked to many health problems: depression, anxiety, heart attacks, ulcers, and migraines to name a few. Massage Therapy is a great stress reliever, and while I make sure to get a 60 or 90 minute massage every few weeks, I don’t always have a massage therapist handy when I need one (except for me, but I can’t really massage my own back). Here’s a few of my favorite stress relievers:
1. Play with your cat. Seriously, cat owners have less stress than non pet owners (dog owners have less stress too, but cat owners are #1 in less stress). What? You don’t have a cat? Did you know June is National Adopt a Cat Month? The Champaign County Humane Society and CatSnap always have plenty of cats that need a good home. If adopting a cat is too much of a commitment, they also need volunteers to help with the cats. It’s pretty fun; you get to pet cats and help out your local community.
2. Get outside. Take a walk. Or find a shady spot to read a good book. Just being in nature soothes my stress.
3. Do a bit of yoga. Bonus points if you do your yoga outside. Here’s a few short chair yoga videos. They were made by a local yoga instructor, Maggie Taylor. If you have time for a longer class, you can find her and other great instructors in Champaign at the Living Yoga Center and Reflect Yoga Therapy.
4. Smell some essential oils*. Sweet Orange, Lavender, and Peppermint are some of my favorites. (*I get most of my essential oils from Aromatics International. They’re great. If you decide to buy some, use this link and we’ll both earn $10 in credit.)
5. Give yourself a massage! Did you know you can use a tennis ball to massage your back? It works great on your upper back between your shoulder blades. Just position the tennis ball between your back and a wall. Take care with the pressure and don’t put pressure directly on your spine. It can be a bit tricky to get right, but if you can’t get someone else to give you a massage, give it a try. Of course, you can always call your favorite massage therapist and schedule a massage!